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At the end of the piece, the actors, in noblemens' houses VOL. I. and in taverns, where plays were frequently performed ", PROLEGO prayed for the health and prosperity of their patrons ; and MENA. in the publick theatres, for the king and queen'. This prayer sometimes made part of the epilogue m. Hence, probably, as Mr. Steevens has observed, the addition of Proant rex et regina, to the modern play-bills.
Plays in the time of our author, began at one o'clock in the afternoon, and the exhibition was usually finished
in NOTES. See A mad World my Masters, a comedy, by Middleton, 1608: “Some sherry for my lord's players there, firrah ; why this will be a true feast-a right Mitre supper - a play and all.”
The night before the insurrection of the gallant and unfortunate earl of Efex, the play of K. Richard II. was acted at his house.
See the notes on the epilogue to The Second Part of K. Henry IV. vol. V p. 615.
- See Cambyfes, a tragedy, by Thomas Preston ; Locrine, 1595; and K. Henry IV. P. II.
“ Fufcus doth rise at ten, and at eleven
* Then sees a play.”-
Others, however, were actuated by a stronger curiosity, and, in order to secure good places, went to the theatre without their dinner. See the prologue to The Unfortunate Lovers, by Sir Wil. liam D'Avenant, 1643 :
You are grown excessive proud,
“ And cry'd-a paffing good one, I proteft.'
VOL. I. in two hours °. Even in 1667, they commenced at three PROLEGO- o'clock e.
When Goffon wrote his School of Abuse in 1579, it feems that dramatick entertainments were usually exbibited on Sundays 9. Afterwards they were performed on that and other days indiscriminately. From the filence of Pryone on this subject, it has been supposed that the practice of exhibiting plays on the Lord's day was discontinued when he published his Histriomaflix, in 1633; but I doubt whether this conjecture be well founded, for it appears from a contemporary writer, that it had not been abolished in the third year of king Charles I'.
" Hence 'tis that at new plays you come lo soon,
66 And drink till three, and then come dropping in.”
See The Demoiselles a la Mode, by Flecknoe, 1667:
After the Restoration, (we are told by old Mr. Cibber) it was a frequent practice of the ladies of quality, to carry Mr. Kynaston the actor, in his female dress, after the play, in their coaches to Hyde Park.
9 “ Thefe [the players] because they are allowed to play every Sunday, make four or five Sundays, at least, every week.” School of Abuse, 1579.
In former tiines, (says Stowe in his Survey of London), ingenious tradesmen and gentlemens' servants would sometimes gather a company of themselves, and learn interludes, to expose vice, or to represent the noble actions of our ancestors. These they played at festivals, in private houses, at weddings, or other entertainments. But in process of time it became an occupation, and these plays being commonly acted on Sundays and other fertivals, the churches were forsaken, and the play houses thronged."
" And seldom have they leisure for a play
" Or masque, except upon God's holyday." Withers's Britaine's Remembrancer, Canto vi. p. 197. b. 1628
It has been a question whether it was formerly a com- VOL. I. mon practice to ride on horseback to the play-house; a cir- PROLEGOcun itaoce that would scarcely deserve con Gideracion, if it were not in some fort connected with our author's history', a plauíble story having been built on this foundation, relatite to his first introduction to the stage.
The modes of conveyance to the theatre, anciently, as at present, seem to have been various ; some going in coaches', cthers on horseback ", and many by water w. To the Globe
“ A pipe there, firrah; no fophisticate-
Notes from Black-fryars, 1617. The author is describing the behaviour of a gallant at the Black. friars theatre.
See the induction to Cynthia's Revels, 1601 : “ Befides, they could wiln, your poets would leave to be promoters of other mens' jets, and to way-lay all the stale apothegms or old books they can hear of, in print or otherwise, to farce their scenes withal : -again, that feeding their friends with nothing of their own but what they have twice or thrice cooked, they should not wantonly give out, how soon they had dressed it, nor how many coaches came to carry away the broken meat, beside hebby-horses, and foot-cloth nags."
In the year 1613, the Company of Watermen petitioned his majelty, " that the players might not be permitted to have a playhouse in London or in Middlesex, within four miles of the city on that side of the Thames." From Taylor's True Cause of the Watermens' Suit concerning Players, and the Reasons that their playing in London is their [i. e. the Watermen's) extreme Hindrance, We learn, that the theatres on the Bankside in Southwark were once so numerous, and the custom of going thither by water so general, that many thousand watermen were supported by it. As the book is not common, and the passage contains fome anecdotes relative to the stage at that time, I shall transcribe it :
“ Afterwards," i.e. as I conjecture, about the year 1596] fays Taylor, who was employed as an advocate in behalf of the watermen, “the players began to play on the Bankhide, and to leave playing in London and Middlesex for the moft part. Then there went such great concourse of people by water, that the small dumber of watermen remaining at home [the majority being,
Vol. I. playhouse the company probably were conveyed by water*; to PROLEGOthat in Black-fryars, the gentry went either in coaches y, or on
horseNOTES. employed in the Spanish war) were not able to carry them, by reason of the court, the tearms, the players, and other employments. So that we were inforced and encouraged, hoping that this golden itirring world would hare lasted ever, to take and entertaine men and boyes, which boyes are grown men and keepers of houses. -- So that the number of watermen, and those that live and are maintained by them, and by the only labour of the oare and the skull, betwixt the bridge of Windsor and Gravesend, cannot be fewer than forty thousand; the cause of the greater halte of which multitude hath bene the players playing on the Bankside ; for I have known three companies, besides the bearbaiting, at once there ; to wit, the Globe, the Rose, and the Swan.
“ And now it hath pleased God in this peaceable time (from 1604 to 1613] that there is no employment at the sea, as it hath bere accustomed; so that as all those great numbers of men re. main at home; and the players have all (except the king's men) left their usual residency on the Bankfide, and do play in Middle. fex; far remote from the Thames ; so that every day in the weeke they do draw urto them three or four thousand people, that were used to spend their moneys by water. ;16 - His majestie's players did exhibit a petition against us, in which they said, that our fuit was unreasonable, and that we might as juftly remove the Exchange, the walkes in Paul's, or Moorfields, to the Bankside, for our profits, as to confine them."
The affair appears never to have been decided. " Soine (says Taylor) have reported that I took bribes of the players, to let the suit fall, and to that purpose I had a dupper of them, at the Care dinal's har, on the Bankside.” Works of Taylor the water-poet, p.171, edit. 1633.
* See an epilogue to a vacation-play at the Globe, by Sir Williai D'Avenant. Works, p. 245 :
“For your own lakes, poor fouls, you had not best
By heav'n I'll mow you oft with my long word,
" Y coman and squire, knight, laity and her lord.” y See a letter from Mr. Garrard to Lord Strafford, dated Jan. 9, 1633-4; Strafford's Letters, vol. 1. p. 175: “ Here hath been an order of the lords of the council hung up in a table near Paul's and the Black-fryars, to command all that resort to the borseback; and the common people on foot. In an epi- Vol. I. gram by Sir John Davis, the practice of riding to the PROLEGOtheatre is ridiculed as a piece of affectation or vanity; and MENA. therefore we may presume it was not very general ?
Though from the want of news-papers and other periodi. cal publications, intelligence was not so speedily circulated
NOTES. play-house there, to send away their coaches, and to disperse abroad in Paul's Churcb-yard, Carter Lane, the Conduit in Fleet Street, and other places, and not to return to fetch their company, but they must trot a-foot to find their coaches :- 'twas kept very strictly for two or three weeks, but now I think it is disordered again." - It should however be remembered that this was written above forty years after Shakspeare's tirit acquaintance with the theatre. Coaches, in the time of queen Elizabeth were pofíefled but by very few. They were not in ordinary use till after the year 1605. See Stowe's Annals, p. 867. Even when the above mentioned order was made, there were no hackney coaches. These, as appears from another letter in the same collection, were established a few months afterwards.-" I cannot (says Mr. Garrard) omit to mention any new thing that comes up amongst us, though never so trivial. Here is one captain Baily, he hath been a sea-captain, but now lives on the land, about this city, where he tries experiments. He hath erected according to his ability, some four backney coaches, put his men in livery, and appointed thein to ftand at the May-pole in the Strand, giving them instructions at what rates to carry men into several parts of the town, where all day they may be had. Other hackney.men seeing this way, they flocked to the same place, and perform their journeys at the same sate. So that sometimes there is twenty of them together, which disperse up and down, that they and others are to be had every where, as water-men are to be bad by the water-fide. Every body is much pleased with it. For whereas, before, coaches could not be had but at great rates, now a man may have one much cheaper.” This letter is dated April 1, 1634.–Strafford's Letters,
A few months afterwards, hackney chairs were introduced : " Here is also another project for carrying people up and down in close chairs, for the fole doing whereof, Sir Sander Duncombe, a traveller, now a pensioner, hath obtained a patent from the k ng, and hath forty or fifty making ready for use.” Ibid. p. 336. 2 " Faustus, nor lord, nor knight, nor wise, nor old,
“ To ev'ry place about the town doch ride ;
vol. I. p. 227